information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A bivalve (Venus casina)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



Circomphalus casina is a bivalve of equal valves which have a swollen appearance and are characterised by concentric ridges on the outer surface of the shell. The shell is generally dirty white but may be beige,with occasional patches of pink. Shell length up to 5 cm.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common on all British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution



In coarse sand, gravel and shell gravel from the shallow sublittoral to the edge of the continental shelf.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Shell oval, with crenulate inner margin and an anterior lateral tooth.
  • Valves of shell are equal, outer surface sculptured with concentric ridges.
  • Shell white or light brown, occasionally with pink patches.
  • Lunule and escutcheon (depressed areas of the shell in front and behind the beak, respectively) distinct.

Additional information

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Listed by

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Further information sources

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  1. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  2. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  3. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1990. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  6. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.

  7. Tebble, N., 1966. British Bivalve Seashells. A Handbook for Identification, 2nd ed. Edinburgh: British Museum (Natural History), Her Majesty's Stationary Office.


This review can be cited as:

Neal, K.J. 2005. Venus casina A bivalve. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 15-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/10/2005